FAP: AF vs Army

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

flygirl

New Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2008
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Hi...after reading so many postings, I am not sure which way to go! I am a PGY2 in ophthalmology and trying to decide b/w the AF and army... ARMY seems to have more hospitals, but AF has more convenient locations for me. AF has military ophthalmology fellowships, army does not. I just want to be able to practice what I ve been trained for so i can get as much experience out of it as i can. can anyone offer any insight??? thanks :rolleyes:

Members don't see this ad.
 
Seriously? An ophthalmologist that wants to join the military after residency? Come, on... This has to be the work of a recruiter... but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

The AF may have more convenient locations for you, but it is a virtual guarantee that you will not be assigned to a location that you desire. If you really want to practice medicine in your specialty, the civilian job market is hopping. Why take a crappy job where you make 1/5 or less of your civilian counterparts, can't choose where you live, can't decide what to wear to work, will be ordered around by stupid nurses who have a fraction of the education and intelligence you do, lose the skills you worked so hard to learn in residency, and spend the vast majority of your time drowning in administrivia? There is absolutely ZERO reason why any sane person in your position would want to join the military.

Recruiter, go back to trying to trick people into HPSP by telling them that 97% of people get their top choice of residency.
 
BomberDoc you are becoming more and more of a shorttimer every day:)
 
Members don't see this ad :)
thanks bomberdoc!

seriously the main reason is for money. I've incurred alot of debt (student loans, credit cards) that keeps me from being financially stable. Right now they are offering close to 65k total per year during residency and the captains salary when i get out should be comparable to my civilian counterparts (i am in NYC and unfortunately very saturated with ophthalmologists. also, HMOs are not signing up docs in a timely manner which means working under others, making miserable salaries).

BUT it is important that in my 3-4 years that i pay back i don't lose my skills but rather strengthen them...and that's why i am having a hard time deciding b/w army and af. which of the two evils to take, i guess :(
 
thanks bomberdoc!

seriously the main reason is for money. I've incurred alot of debt (student loans, credit cards) that keeps me from being financially stable. Right now they are offering close to 65k total per year during residency and the captains salary when i get out should be comparable to my civilian counterparts (i am in NYC and unfortunately very saturated with ophthalmologists. also, HMOs are not signing up docs in a timely manner which means working under others, making miserable salaries).

BUT it is important that in my 3-4 years that i pay back i don't lose my skills but rather strengthen them...and that's why i am having a hard time deciding b/w army and af. which of the two evils to take, i guess :(

I find it difficult to believe a captain's salary will be comparable to your civilian counterpart's income. What specialist makes the same amount of money in the military as they do outside???

If you do some research on this message board, you'll find the almost unanimous and overwhelming majority of opionions say going into the military for financial reasons is a no-no. And if you think your skills will be improved upon while in the military with the addition of a mountain of administrivia added upon you, ....well....let's just say you might want to reconsider.

Maybe the optho world is an anomaly within military medicine, but I doubt it. I'll be interested to hear other replies to this thread but I think they'll say similar things.
 
I dont know... is it possible to get a location guaranteed within the contract?

As an opthalmologist how much of a consideration is it being deployed?
 
well...i am told by my recruiters that capt salary plus all the other stipends and incentives can add up to over 100k...which is what nyc general ophthalmologists' starting salaries are, believe it or not. i don't intend on staying in the military b/c you're right that there is more potential to make more money on the outside. but i figured for 3-4 years, it can't be that bad.

i don't deny that i am naive and new to all of this, which is why i appreciate your replies.

maximus, air force recruiter told me i would get one of my top three choices for location and that chances for deployment with air force was slim, whereas army recruiter said i would likely get deployed once for a 3 month period during my Active service duty. I realize this may all be sugar coated :confused:
 
well...i am told by my recruiters that capt salary plus all the other stipends and incentives can add up to over 100k...which is what nyc general ophthalmologists' starting salaries are, believe it or not. i don't intend on staying in the military b/c you're right that there is more potential to make more money on the outside. but i figured for 3-4 years, it can't be that bad.

i don't deny that i am naive and new to all of this, which is why i appreciate your replies.

maximus, air force recruiter told me i would get one of my top three choices for location and that chances for deployment with air force was slim, whereas army recruiter said i would likely get deployed once for a 3 month period during my Active service duty. I realize this may all be sugar coated :confused:

The recruiter will tell you what you want to hear, because once you sign, you belong to the military.

I strongly urge you to not join the military. Its highly unlikely you would get fellowship training, its highly unlikely you will end up where you want, and although I have no experience with opthalmologists, being a service where you would likely need an older population to keep your skills up, you will not get that. Doing it for the money is the WORST possible reason to do it. NYC may be saturated, but you will find a good job, and pay your loans back much faster if you are out in the civilian world. This is from my 6 yr. experience as an active duty general surgeon.
 
well...i am told by my recruiters that capt salary plus all the other stipends and incentives can add up to over 100k...which is what nyc general ophthalmologists' starting salaries are, believe it or not.
Yep, but those are starting salaries where you're basically putting in your time to work your way toward partner. In the army/airforce you'll be making that much cash while working in the middle of nowhere, and getting nowhere.

i don't intend on staying in the military b/c you're right that there is more potential to make more money on the outside. but i figured for 3-4 years, it can't be that bad.

i don't deny that i am naive and new to all of this, which is why i appreciate your replies.

maximus, air force recruiter told me i would get one of my top three choices for location and that chances for deployment with air force was slim, whereas army recruiter said i would likely get deployed once for a 3 month period during my Active service duty. I realize this may all be sugar coated :confused:

It's not sugar coated, it's outright lying. Currently there are two air force ophthalmologists in Iraq. And the army ophtho deployments are for SIX months, not three months. There is no way they can guarantee you one of your top 3 choices for location. If anything, you'll probably get last choice since the people graduating from air force programs will be known entities with more connections (unless you can somehow work location into your contract???). In the army, the same applies (and they have some seriously sh*tty locations).
 
If you can get it put into the contract and have it reviewed by a lawyer to make sure it's airtight, then go for it. Otherwise you may not get what you were "guaranteed." Even the military isn't above the rule of signed contracts.

Good luck.
 
If you can get it put into the contract and have it reviewed by a lawyer to make sure it's airtight, then go for it. Otherwise you may not get what you were "guaranteed." Even the military isn't above the rule of signed contracts.

Good luck.


That would NEVER happen. The military does not work that way.
 
don't get me wrong...money is important but i have always wanted to be part of the military since watching M*A*S*H as a little girl! lol i have been considering it since college. I stayed away from it b/c i considered myself very family-oriented (which is why i chose ophthalmology) and felt that I didn't want to be constrained in any way. and quite honestly, i wouldn't mind going to iraq and seeing pathology i will never ever see in my career!
 
Members don't see this ad :)
don't get me wrong...money is important but i have always wanted to be part of the military since watching M*A*S*H as a little girl! lol i have been considering it since college. I stayed away from it b/c i considered myself very family-oriented (which is why i chose ophthalmology) and felt that I didn't want to be constrained in any way. and quite honestly, i wouldn't mind going to iraq and seeing pathology i will never ever see in my career!

I'll admit that I always wanted to be Hawkeye Pierce when I was a little kid, too. I liked his character because he was his own man, not constrained by the stupid military rules, he pissed in the eye of leadership but never got in trouble because he was a good doctor and gave 110% to his patients. Unfortunately this isn't the case in the real world military. Hawkeye would be in Leavenworth making big rocks into little rocks for the rest of his life.

If you are family oriented, the military is the wrong place for you. Deployments aren't very family friendly. The locations of military bases aren't family friendly either. They are usually in s#itholes in the middle of nowhere and your spouse will resent you for dragging them to such a rotten place.

"I didn't want to be constrained in any way" This is absolutely antithetical to the military. You will be constrained in EVERY way conceivable and some ways that you haven't even begun to consider.

The path you are likely to see in Iraq as an eye doc will be foreign body after foreign body. Cool, yes, but not much variety.

Learn from our mistakes. Save yourself and your family. Turn around. Run. Never look back.
 
don't get me wrong...money is important but i have always wanted to be part of the military since watching M*A*S*H as a little girl! lol i have been considering it since college. I stayed away from it b/c i considered myself very family-oriented (which is why i chose ophthalmology) and felt that I didn't want to be constrained in any way. and quite honestly, i wouldn't mind going to iraq and seeing pathology i will never ever see in my career!

Honestly, I agree. I wouldn't mind being a flight surgeon with the opportunity to fly in jets all over the place. I wanted to go to Air Force Academy when I was younger, but pussed out. I'm gonna go through with it this time :)
 
I wasn't going to say anything, but this is getting ridiculous.

MaximusD, your constant posting throughout these threads is akin to verbal web-vomit.

Your posts are naive, unsolicited, and oftentimes non-sensical.

Asking questions is good. The regulars who post here are a veritable gold-mine for information I wished I had when I signed on the dotted line 4 yrs ago.

Leave advice on Military GME, GMO tours, contracts etc. to THEM. They have the experience and the knowlege to give sage advice. You absolutely do not.

People come to these boards for honest answers, which they often don't get from recruiters. Don't mislead them, however noble your intentions might be.

Exercise some prudence before holding forth on things you really have no idea about. Have the wisdom to defer to those who do.

Goodnight
 
I wasn't going to say anything, but this is getting ridiculous.

MaximusD, your constant posting throughout these threads is akin to verbal web-vomit.

Your posts are naive, unsolicited, and oftentimes non-sensical.

Asking questions is good. The regulars who post here are a veritable gold-mine for information I wished I had when I signed on the dotted line 4 yrs ago.

Leave advice on Military GME, GMO tours, contracts etc. to THEM. They have the experience and the knowlege to give sage advice. You absolutely do not.

People come to these boards for honest answers, which they often don't get from recruiters. Don't mislead them, however noble your intentions might be.

Exercise some prudence before holding forth on things you really have no idea about. Have the wisdom to defer to those who do.

Goodnight

Exactly what I was thinking--thank you GMO for putting it into words so eloquently
 
I wasn't going to say anything, but this is getting ridiculous.

MaximusD, your constant posting throughout these threads is akin to verbal web-vomit.

Your posts are naive, unsolicited, and oftentimes non-sensical.

Asking questions is good. The regulars who post here are a veritable gold-mine for information I wished I had when I signed on the dotted line 4 yrs ago.

Leave advice on Military GME, GMO tours, contracts etc. to THEM. They have the experience and the knowlege to give sage advice. You absolutely do not.

People come to these boards for honest answers, which they often don't get from recruiters. Don't mislead them, however noble your intentions might be.

Exercise some prudence before holding forth on things you really have no idea about. Have the wisdom to defer to those who do.

Goodnight

I'm entitled to post wherever, whenever I see fit. Pre-DO and Osteopathic forums don't really hit on military subjects. Maybe you can suggest a Military Medical Student forum?

I haven't misled anyone. If what the recruiter says is true, she should have it written down on a signed contract. If it isn't written and signed, it isn't true. It is my contention that the recruiter would not do so and she would have her answer pertaining to the truthfulness of his recruiting claims.

Your contention that I am underexperienced is not unexpected, and I'm sure it is the majority opinion. Nonetheless, I am going to continue my viewpoints.

I also don't think that, in the end, an optho resident isn't smart enough to make decisions for his/herself. My signature clearly states that I am a first-year medical student that is APPLYING to HPSP, thus I see no reason why someone reading my posts would infer that I know more than I actually do.
 
Thank you all for your experiences and advice! I really do appreciate your sincerety and think that now, at least, I have the opinions of people who have been there and done that! I wont rush into anything and will continue to take my time to make a final decision.
 
Thank you all for your experiences and advice! I really do appreciate your sincerety and think that now, at least, I have the opinions of people who have been there and done that! I wont rush into anything and will continue to take my time to make a final decision.

Bottom line is to talk to people other than your recruiter. It's his JOB to recruit you at all costs.

Perhaps you can have him put you in contact with a practicing opthalmologist in the service... ;) They'll paint a vivid and ACCURATE picture for you...
 
Maximus, I'm glad that I'll be long gone by the time you start practicing medicine. God forbid that I or anyone I know and care about fall under your care.
 
Maximus, I'm glad that I'll be long gone by the time you start practicing medicine. God forbid that I or anyone I know and care about fall under your care.

That's a fairly awful and unwarranted thing to say. It must take a keen mind to infer my future abilities as a clinician from my postings on an internet forum.

I don't think I will be responding to your posts past this point in time. Best of luck in your career both within the military and on the outside.
 
Perhaps you can have him put you in contact with a practicing opthalmologist in the service... ;) They'll paint a vivid and ACCURATE picture for you...

Not necessarily . . .
 
I'm personally interested in why it wouldn't be, actually.

Thanks for your time. :thumbup:

1. Because the recruiter would hook her up w/ some 0-6 that's been in for 20 years and has set themself up with a nice siutation: no chance for deployment, good duty station, enough rank to not have to worry about obnoxious MSC and nurse colonels, etc. Whereas her four years as a junior staff will be a heck of a lot different.

2. While at the hospital, I get asked by med students and pre-meds from time to time about my opinion on military medicine. I've never been 100% honest with one of them. Sorry, but there's a risk to badmouthing military medicine to future recruits. There's no way in hell am I going to risk having something like that come back to me (I get the feeling it wouldn't help my next OER too much).
 
1. Because the recruiter would hook her up w/ some 0-6 that's been in for 20 years and has set themself up with a nice siutation: no chance for deployment, good duty station, enough rank to not have to worry about obnoxious MSC and nurse colonels, etc. Whereas her four years as a junior staff will be a heck of a lot different.

2. While at the hospital, I get asked by med students and pre-meds from time to time about my opinion on military medicine. I've never been 100% honest with one of them. Sorry, but there's a risk to badmouthing military medicine to future recruits. There's no way in hell am I going to risk having something like that come back to me (I get the feeling it wouldn't help my next OER too much).

Good points... I had guessed that there'd be an effect of not wanting to "bad-mouth" the military in a non-anonymous fashion, but I had thought it would be small at best.

I just had thought speaking to someone directly would be far more fair of an evaluation than spouting angry comments on an anonymous forum. Something about typing into a box and pressing "Submit Reply" doesn't assure that you have to really think about what you're saying.

Now I'm seeing that the direct route has its obvious impediments as well.

Thanks.
 
That's a fairly awful and unwarranted thing to say. It must take a keen mind to infer my future abilities as a clinician from my postings on an internet forum.

I don't think I will be responding to your posts past this point in time. Best of luck in your career both within the military and on the outside.

Unfortunately it takes fairly awful and unwarranted things to get rid of naive tendencies. I'm not assessing your future abilities as a clinician. I'm assessing your attitude of "If I just hope hard enough, it will be OK. Really, it will. I just know it has to be better than the overwhelming evidence to the contrary... because I want it to be... because I'm afraid that they're right." Say it in a high girly voice and it gets the point across much better.

Thanks for your well wishes and for not responding in the future. I wish you luck and the ability to open your eyes to the truth.
 
1. Because the recruiter would hook her up w/ some 0-6 that's been in for 20 years and has set themself up with a nice siutation: no chance for deployment, good duty station, enough rank to not have to worry about obnoxious MSC and nurse colonels, etc. Whereas her four years as a junior staff will be a heck of a lot different.

This is dead on. I see prospective HPSP types getting paraded around our place and they always seem to go into the offices of the O6's who set up as Mirror says. Strange they don't knock on the door of the O4 next door. Oh wait, he's not there, he's been in Afghanistan for the last 12 months.

2. While at the hospital, I get asked by med students and pre-meds from time to time about my opinion on military medicine. I've never been 100% honest with one of them. Sorry, but there's a risk to badmouthing military medicine to future recruits. There's no way in hell am I going to risk having something like that come back to me (I get the feeling it wouldn't help my next OER too much).

Guilty here too.

In general, to go back to the OP's question, I'm pretty happy to have chosen Navy. The deployments are shorter than the Army (unless you get stuck in an Army job, which really sucks), the culture is less rigid and we aren't trying to get out of the business of medicine like the AF. If you are considering Army and AF, you really should look at the Navy too. As a FAP type, the GMO thing is off the table.
 
In my humble opinion, OP if you want to join and serve then do it. Dont let anyone talk you down from that decision. You will learn like some of us that it isnt always the best situation to be in. You will also learn from some of us that it has been the best opportunity we have ever had. I feel that if you always wanted to join and didnt, that you would always wonder what could've been. We all take our lumps and live with them. You will take some lumps too. Thats called life. Plus, if the military will help you become stable financially in 3-4 years then do it, and dont look back. Enjoy the new places you will see and the people you will meet. The military is what you make of it.

Best of luck in whatever you choose.


Sorry, this is not entirely directed at you, but give me a break!!

What is your humble opinion really worth? You have not even been to medical school, chosen a specialty, done a residency, been on active duty as the responsible attending for someone's life, limb, or sight????? Your humble opinion is really not something someone should base their career on since you have not really had any experience to go on.

Once again, there are risks of not being able to choose where you live, who you work for, and most importantly how much of your job you will actually be able to do. Not to mention that for people who are not trained yet, they may have to extend their time in the military because of not being chosen for their specialty, or having to do it in what many may consider not the best training, only to then be deployed to a place where the minimal skills that you've been able to get, will just erode away.

Too many unknown variables.

Read the large post on the "Avoid Military Medicine if Possible" just recently written by a 12 yr active duty guy and why he would not choose to stay in military medicine. Even though he was never a physician, his OPINION, is based on 12 yrs of being in the military, and knowing what the system can and will do to you based on its needs.
 
I just read what you wrote. Look, I am an IDC and yes when your a.. was sitting in the green zone my a.. was with my crew. So, yes I do have the ability to weigh in on this matter. Oh and btw an Idependent Duty Corpsman is responsible for someones life, limb and sight under very stressful situations. Oh and you are only responsible for it in an air conditioned well staffed and everything at your disposal situation. Give me a break sir, you however, are still clueless. Drop a pair and contact me another time

ocho, what happened to all your posts?
 
Top